SSHRC – Changes in Communication of Competition Results

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has improved and harmonized the communication of competition results given to applicants and institutions. These changes come as a result of a review aimed at determining what feedback could be provided following adjudication that would:
• Provide applicants with the decision (offered/not offered);
• Allow applicants and institutions to situate the individual results within a larger context; and
• Allow institutions to situate the results of their cohort of applicants within a larger context.

New this year:

• Applications will be “offered”, “conditionally offered”* or “not offered” funding
• Elimination of the “recommended, not funded” category
• Collection of all applications into one overall group by rank and divided by relative rank into sextiles
• Results for applicants will be provided on a one-page form that includes individual, committee and overall results and statistics, including the sextile in which their application placed
• Institutions will receive overall and institutional competition statistics on the secure site (not for public dissemination until the official public announcement has occurred) in addition to their applicants’ results by sextiles (presented in alphabetical, not rank order) and the award decisions.

At this time, changes will be made in the communication of results to the Insight Grants (IG), Insight Development Grants (IDG), Partnerships Grants Letter of Intent (PG – LOI), and Partnership Development Grants (PDG) funding opportunities.

These changes are based on feedback received from the research community that the number of applications that were “Recommended, not funded” had increased in most funding opportunities over the past years and the proportion of applications deemed “Recommended, not funded” was inconsistent from one funding opportunity to another which made results difficult to interpret. Furthermore, it was found that the large number of “Recommended, not funded” applications sent mixed messages to individual applicants since only a small proportion of these applications are funded by SSHRC on an annual basis.

Effective immediately, the “Recommended, not funded” category has been eliminated. Applicants will now be informed that their application was either “Offered”, “Conditionally Offered”* or “Not Offered” an award. Furthermore, the results of all applications within each funding opportunity will be collected, grouped based on overall relative rank and divided into sextiles. The fifth and sixth sextiles (or bottom third) will be combined into one group. Applicants, as well as their institution, will be informed into which sextile category their application fell, in relation to all applications submitted to that competition. Applicants will continue to receive information on where their application ranked (by committee).

Applicants will receive the following:

a. Overall competition statistics
b. Results for their specific application

  1. Decision (Offered/Conditionally Offered/Not Offered)
  2. Final Scores
  3. Rank within the committee
  4. Sextile category in overall ranking
  5. Committee comments (if applicable)
  6. External Assessments / Expert Panel Reports (if applicable)

SSHRC will also provide institutions with more information regarding the results of the applicants from their institution and their overall standing in the competition.

Institutions will receive the following:

    a. Overall competition statistics
    b. Institution competition statistics
    c. Results for all applications submitted via the institution:

        i. Decision (Offered/Conditionally Offered/Not Offered)
        ii. Recommended Amount (for those offered an award)
        iii. Sextile category in overall rankings (the list of applicants will appear in alphabetical order within the sextile category)

* The term “conditionally offered” refers to awards to successful applicants who must meet certain conditions in order to receive the award. Individuals receiving a conditional offer will be made aware of the specific condition as part of the correspondence they receive concerning their results.  This is not a new name or version of the old 4A category.

Below are two scenarios that illustrate situations in which a grant would be conditionally offered.

Example 1: 

A Postdoctoral researcher applies and is successful in the Insight Grant funding opportunity. This applicant is conditionally offered an award. In order for SSHRC to release grant funds, the applicant must:

  • formally establish an affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2016 for the current competition); AND
  • maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.

Example 2:

A PhD candidate has applied and is successful in the Insight Development Grant funding opportunity. This applicant is conditionally offered an award and must:

  • meet all requirements for the PhD before the grant is awarded (i.e., before June 1, 2016, for the current competition), including all course work and successful defense of their dissertation, AND
  • establish a formal affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2016 for the current competition), AND
  • maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.

 photo credit: Tulip in the dark via photopin (license)

About the Author

Kueneman, Karen
Staff, 2015 Fall

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